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Sexual assault happens in greater numbers to youth than it does to adults. Here are some Canadian statistics about how sexual violence affects youth.

  • Being young and female is a risk factor of sexual assault.  86% of sexual offences reported to the police in the year 2004 were committed against females (Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistical Trends 2006, Statistics Canada)
  • A recent report found that the rates of sexual harassment in schools are significant, with 36% of boys and 46% of girls in Grade 9 reporting that “someone made [unwanted] sexual comments, jokes, gestures or looks at me”.  By Grade 11 this rate had declined significantly for boys, but remained consistent at 46% for girls (Safe Schools Action Report on Gender-based Violence, Homophobia, Sexual Harassment & Inappropriate Sexual Behavior in Schools 2008, p. 6)
  • A recent report found that almost one in three girls in Grade 9 stated that “someone brushed up against me in a sexual way” or “someone touched, grabbed, or pinched me in a sexual way” (Safe Schools Action Report on Gender-based Violence, Homophobia, Sexual Harassment & Inappropriate Sexual Behavior in Schools 2008, p. 6)
  • Young women under 25 show the highest rates of sexual assault and criminal harassment (Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistical Trends 2006, Statistics Canada)
  • 54% of Canadian girls under the age of 16 have experienced some form of unwanted sexual attention.  24% have experience rape or coercive sex and 17% have experienced incest (Holmes & Silver, 1992; Russell, 1996) 
  • Youth under 18 represented 22% of the Canadian population in 2004 but made up 58% of victims of sexual offences.  For males, being under 12 years old heightens their vulnerability to sexual offences (Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistical Trends 2006, Statistics Canada)
  • 27% of Grade 11 female students in a Centre for Addiction and Mental Health survey admitted being pressured to do something sexual against their will.  15% of respondents reported having oral sex just to avoid having intercourse (Wolfe and Chiodo, CAMH, 2008, p. 3.) 
  • Young women from marginalized racial, sexual and socioeconomic groups are more vulnerable to being targeted for sexual harassment and sexual assault (Wolfe and Chiodo, CAMH, 2008, p. 3.) 
  • Girls and young women living with disabilities experience violence at a rate that is four times the national average (S. Razack, “From Consent to Responsibility, From Pity to Respect: Subtexts in Cases of Sexual Violence Involving Girls and Women with Developmental Disabilities,” Law and Social Inquiry, 1994: p. 900)